Believing in God is my own decision

by Tammi Lea

I grew up all my life in a Christian home where we went to church every Sunday. I knew a lot about the Bible, and I knew how to act religious.

There were two times when I was young that I said that I put my trust in God. The first was when I was five. We had watched a movie about all the bad things that would happen to people who had not gone to be with Christ in Heaven when the world came to an end. I was so young. I remember being scared to death, and I sure did not want to be left behind to suffer! So I said a little prayer… something like, ‘Jesus, please save me.’

Then when I was in seventh grade right after we moved to Arkansas, I went through a time when I was very lonely. I realized that not only did I not have very many new friends, but I also did not have a friendship with Christ. Forget friendship, I did not even know Him at all, period, zilch. I knew a lot about Him, but I sure couldn’t talk to Him. So I said some more words and that patched the problem for a little while and eased my conscience.

When I was sixteen and a junior in High school, one of my best friends from the church and school who was a year ahead of me decided that he was an atheist. We talked about it, and he asked me how I knew that God even existed. I didn’t know. I really wasn’t sure. I had been taught that all my life, but I wasn’t sure if I really believed in God or not! That was the first time in my life that I realized that I had to make my own decision. Scary… How was I to know what to believe! I didn’t tell anyone what I was thinking, but I did begin to pray. I wanted to know for sure if God was real.

It didn’t take long before I knew. I was very sure in my heart that God really does exist. Then, there was another problem… If He was real, what was I suppose to do about it! I already knew enough about the Bible to know that He had taken the punishment for all the wrong things that I had done, and that I needed to turn away from them and let Him take control of my life. Believe it or not, at age sixteen, even though I was a pretty good little girl, I knew that I was not able to manage my life very well. There was so much grief and suffering in my life caused by my bad decisions, immaturity, and lack of knowledge. Also, there is so much I realized that a person just can’t control. What happens to someone, to a great extent, is determined by other people or by circumstances that God allows in their life.

Anyway, I had no doubt that help would be nice, but I really didn’t want to give control of my whole life to someone else! I struggled with it for a long time. Even though every decision I had ever made in life wasn’t perfect, things didn’t seem too bad to me. I thought that maybe life could continue on with me in the driver’s seat, and that maybe God would just offer some direction. Of course, that is not His plan!

I am not sure exactly what made me change my mind, but I eventually did! I think that I realized that it wouldn’t be so bad to rely on Someone else after all — especially since that Someone else had all the answers to all life’s problems, loved me personally, had my best interest in mind, was perfect, couldn’t make any mistakes, and always did the right thing!

One night, in October of 1988, I told the Lord the way I felt. I told Him that I was very sorry that my bad choices had hurt Him so much, and that I wanted Him to have complete control of ALL of my life. I meant that with all of my heart!

Some people say that they are extremely happy after they give their life to Christ. I was happy, but more than anything, I felt peace. I knew that I had made the right decision to put my trust in God, and I was grateful that He wanted to save me! To this day, I have never once been sorry for becoming a Christian. Actually, very often, when I remember what it was like to not have Christ in my life, I am extremely glad that I know Him now and can rely on Him.

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